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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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OUR NATIONAL TREASURE POET ROBERT BLY

 

"Robert Bly, guest poet,  was born in western Minnesota in 1926 to parents of Norwegian stock. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and spent two years there. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard and thereby joined the famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, which included Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, Harold Brodkey, George Plimpton, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York living, as they say, hand to mouth.

 

Beginning in 1954, he took two years at the University of Iowa at the Writers Workshop along with W. D. Snodgrass, Donald Justice, and others. In 1956 he received a Fulbright grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there he found not only his relatives but the work of a number of major poets whose force was not present in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl and Harry Martinson. He determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States and so began The Fifties and The Sixties and The Seventies, which introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation, and published, as well, essays on American poets and insults to those deserving. During this time he lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and children.

 

In 1966 he co-founded American Writers Against the Vietnam War and led much of the opposition among writers to that war. When he won the National Book Award for The Light Around the Body, he contributed the prize money to the Resistance. During the 70s he published eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations, celebrating the power of myth, Indian ecstatic poetry, meditation, and storytelling. During the 80s he published Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, The Wingéd Life: Selected Poems and Prose of Thoreau,The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and A Little Book on the Human Shadow.

 

His work Iron John: A Book About Men is an international bestseller which has been translated into many languages. He frequently does workshops for men with James Hillman and others, and workshops for men and women with Marion Woodman. He and his wife Ruth, along with the storyteller Gioia Timpanelli, frequently conduct seminars on European fairy tales. In the early 90s, with James Hillman and Michael Meade, he edited The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, an anthology of poems from the men's work. Since then he has edited The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford, and The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy, a collection of sacred poetry from many cultures.

 

Recent books of poetry include What Have I Ever Lost by Dying? Collected Prose Poems and Meditations on the Insatiable Soul, both published by Harper Collins. His second large prose book, The Sibling Society, published by Addison-Wesley in hardcover and Vintage in paperback, is the subject of nation-wide discussion. His collection, Morning Poems (Harper Collins), named for William Stafford’s practice of writing a poem each morning, revisits the western Minnesota farm country of Bly’s boyhood with marvelous wit and warmth. He has recently published The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine (Henry Holt) in collaboration with Marion Woodman. His new selected poems, Eating the Honey of Words, has recently appeared from Harper Flamingo, as well as his translations of Ghalib, The Lightning Should Have Fallen on Ghalib (with Sunil Dutta) from Ecco Press. He has also edited the prestigious Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribners)."

 

This biography was republished from Mr. Bly's website and included here for the Winter Issue of Grey Sparrow Journal.

 

***

 

David S. Atkinson received his MFA in writing from the program at the University of Nebraska.  His stories stories, book reviews, and articles have appeared in Fine Lines, Gently Read Literature, The Rumpus, The Nebraska Lawyer, and 2600: The Hacker Quarterly.  The web site dedicated to his writing is at http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/  In his non-literary time, David works as a patent attorney in Denver.

 

Sara Basrai is a British citizen who lives in New York City. Before moving to NYC, she worked as a teacher in London. She is interested in human rights, environmental and multicultural writing. Her desire is to lend humanity to the facts and appeal to the reader both intellectually and emotionally. She won a competition to publish two short stories in an anthology called The Cloud.  Other work is published or forthcoming in Rose and Thorn, The Smoking Poet, 34th Parallel Magazine, Vagabondage Press, Battered Suitcase, Children, Churches and Daddies among others. She is presently working on an anthology of short stories and poems.

 

Annie Baxter is a writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her journalistic work has garnered more than a dozen awards and has been broadcast nationally on public radio programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, This American Life, and Studio 360.  She has also been awarded a number of fiction writing residencies and fellowships from organizations including the Minneapolis Loft Literary Center, the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, and the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Annie's radio and literary interests recently came together in "Writing Minnesota," an hour-long program she hosted and co-produced about Minnesota writers. It aired on Minnesota Public Radio in April 2011.

 

Rebecca Bernard is currently pursuing her MFA in fiction at Vanderbilt University where she works as a fiction and music editor for the Nashville Review. Her work has previously appeared in the 322 Review, Word Riot and McSweeneys Internet Tendencey among other places.

 

Jamie Blakely is a junior at Arkansas Tech University working towards a double major in English and Creative Writing. Jamie said she  enjoys writing, and has never been published before.

 

Abigail Carroll holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. She has published prose in the New York Times, Winterthur Portfolio, and the Journal of Food, Culture and Society and is currently writing a popular history of the American meal for Basic Books. She lives in Middlebury, Vermont, where she is a member of the Spring Street Poets.

 

Australian Painter Joe Cartwright said, "I paint in a fluid and spontaneous manner, which allows me to capture the mood and atmosphere of my subject with a style that encourages the viewer to involve one's self with my work.  I cover a wide range of subjects from landscapes, town life, flowers, portraits and figures. Any subject can lead to an exciting work of art.  Artists, I believe, see the world with more intensity through active observation, so are able to show people something they may not have seen or noticed.  I am always looking for an interesting viewpoint which I can bring to my audience allowing them to connect more closely to the world around them.  Please visit www.joecartwright.com.au to view more of my artwork."

 

Peter Ciccariello said, “My images lie at the interstices of creative intermedia, where process overlaps and defines form and form becomes the carrier for the birth and evolution of ideas. I am an inter-disciplinary and cross-genre artist, poet, and photographer working with metaphor and allegorical memes. My work is concerned with the dynamics of language and text in 3-D digital environments. I have studied painting and design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, high-end computer graphics and film at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, and book design and graphics at Parsons School of Design, New York, New York. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at Harvard University, Boston, MA, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, Tucson, AZ, Brown University in Providence, RI and at the Abbaye de Neumünster, Cloître, Luxembourg. Recent work has appeared both in print and online in, amongst other places, Poetry Magazine, Leonardo On-Line-Lea Special Issue: Dispersive Anatomies, Wood’s Lot, National Gallery of Writing, Rattle, the Area Sneaks Visual Poetry issue, and Fogged Clarity. My image Remains of the Poet II was chosen for the cover of Rae Armantrout’s 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning book Versed."

 

Kimberly Long Cockroft grew up in Bangladesh and Kenya. Since moving to the US, she’s taught writing in high school and college, gardened and enjoyed her three daughters. She was awarded a 2009 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southeast Review, The MacGuffin, Louisville Review, Prism Review, Cold Mountain Review, Apple Valley Review, Prick of the Spindle, and The Christian Century, among others, and she was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. Her poem, Geometry, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  As a weekly newspaper columnist, she writes about rabid opossums and hot dog carts; she can be found daily at wazoofarm.blogspot.com.

 

Christopher Crawford was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His poems, fiction, translations and essays have most recently been published or are forthcoming in Rattle, The Cortland Review, Evergreen Review, Agenda, Orbis, The Return of Kral Majales: Prague's International Literary Renaissance 1990-2010 (Litteraria Pragensia, 2010), From a Terrace in Prague (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011) and Prague Poetics (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011).

 

Casey Francis lives in Quincy, Illinois, where he works as a gymnastics coach and adjunct college instructor. He has received degrees from Quincy University and New Mexico Highlands University. He has published poetry or has work forthcoming in A Prairie Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, Red River Review and the Blog for Rural America (www.cfra.org/blog). This is his first fiction publication. Find out more about Casey at about.me/caseyfrancis.

  

Didi Gibbs received her M.A. in English and poetry from the University of Central Florida.  She currently teaches Art History and Humanities in Central Florida where she lives with her husband and son.  Ms. Gibbs work has appeared in journals such as Boston Literary Magazine, Cyprus Dome, Revelry, and Brushing.

 

Allen Gray is originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky.   He graduated with a BA in English Literature from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and studied briefly at Western Kentucky University.

 

Since graduation, his work has taken him to Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Korea, Germany and Iraq.

 

Currently he works at a large Medical Center in Central Texas and resides in Copperas Cove.

 

James Hawley said,  "I earned my MFA in English for poetry writing from the University of Montana, and taught creative writing and other writing, literature and reading courses at Rio Hondo College before I took an early retirement and moved to Jackson, Wyoming. I have published poems in Cutbank, Kansas Quarterly, Pudding Magazine, Manhattan Poetry Review, Portland Review, Westwind, Owen Wister Review and others.  In addition, I have published a textbook, Getting Down to Specifics, with Harper Collins that makes extensive use of cooperative learning techniques to teach writing skills.

 

Luke Hawley lives in the cold of Minnesota with his wife, two small kids, border collie, and mother-and-son cats. He moonlights as a songwriter and otherwise spends his time writing, growing a beard, and building bookcases out of old windows. He has had work published in Hobart Lit Journal, and now, Grey Sparrow. He is on the brink of completing his MFA at the University of Nebraska. In fact, he will be heading to Kinkos today to print his thesis; a collection of short stories and accompanying songs entitled "The North Woods Hymnal." He’ll gladly print you a copy if you’re interested.

 

Heidi Hart received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000 and currently teaches creative writing at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Her published work includes the memoir Grace Notes: The Waking of a Woman’s Voice (University of Utah Press, 2004) and the four-poet collection Edge by Edge (Toadlily Press, 2007).  In the past three years she has received a Pushcart Prize for poetry, a Utah Arts Council Established Artist Grant, an Honorable Mention in the New Letters essay competition, and a Jentel Foundation Residency Award.  Her poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Folly, Lumina, Cimarron Review, Pleiades, Quarterly West, Monkscript, Pilgrimage, Western Humanities Review, BrokenPlate, Ellipsis, Dialogue, CityArt, Irreantum, The Cortland Review, Friends Journal, The Salt Flats Annual, Northern Lights, Isotope, qarrtsiluni, and Speak Peace: American Voices Respond to Vietnamese Children's Painting. 

 

Julie “Jules” Jacob's poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including the Writer's Gazette, ByLine Magazine, and the New American and World Poetry Anthologies.

 

Jules is a Colorado native and former resident of New Hampshire who currently resides in Branson West, Missouri. She attended the University of New Hampshire and Colorado State University where she completed a program for Horticultural Therapy in 2009. She currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the Thirty-first Judicial Circuit of Missouri.

 

Jules blogs at www.redroom.com/blog/julesjacob where her work has been featured as the Best of Red Room.

 

Jacob Kaiser has written too many poems for his own good, so he is currently working on his first novel while self-publishing his very first chapbook. He attends Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where he resides, working towards a master's degree in English. Jacob can be reached atjacob.kaiser@hotmail.com

 

Tsipi Keller was born in Prague, raised in Israel, and has been living in the U.S. since 1974. The author of eight books, she is the recipient of several literary awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, and an Armand G. Erpf award from Columbia University. Her most recent translation collections are: Poets on the Edge: An Anthology of  Contemporary Hebrew Poetry (SUNY Press); and The Hymns of Job & Other Poems, a Lannan Translation Selection (BOA Editions). Her novel, The Prophet of Tenth Street, will be out in 2011.

 






Jenny Kingsley is a writer and journalist living in London with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in British and American publications, such as The Daily Telegraph, The Blackmore Vale, The Berkshire Eagle, Petits Propos Culinaires and The Cinnamon Press. Jenny studied for her first degree in Social Anthropology at The London School of Economics, for an MA Government at Georgetown University and for an MA Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Jenny used to be a politician!  Please visit Jenny at jennykingsley.com

 

Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Alehouse Press, Blue Collar Review, Blue Earth Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, Hobble Creek Review, Lucid Rhythms, Melusine, Nebraska Life, Paddlefish, Pemmican, Plains Song Review, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, and WestWard Quarterly. 

 

Kristin Laurel just completed a two-year writing apprenticeship at The Loft Literary Center, and has recently been published in Calyx The Talking Stick, Prose Poem Project, The Battered Suitcase, Naugatuck Review, Main Street Rag, The Mom Egg, Hospital Drive and other journals. Sheis completing her first book of poetry, Giving Them All Away, and a chapbook, You Might Feel a Little Poke.

 

Sander Lindeke holds a BFA from Colorado State University.

   

Annam Manthiram is the author of the novel After the Tsunami (forthcoming - Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011) and a short story collection (Dysfunction), which was a Finalist in the 2010 Elixir Press Fiction Award and received Honorable Mention in Leapfrog Press’ 2010 fiction contest.   

 

Annam’s fiction has also been nominated for the PEN/O’Henry Prize and inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology.  A graduate of the M.A. Writing program at the University of Southern California, Ms. Manthiram resides in New Mexico with her husband, Alex, and son, Sathya.  You can visit her online at AnnamManthiram.com.


Corey Meslerhas published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has four novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002), We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (2010) and Following RichardBrautigan (2010), a full length poetry collection, Some Identity Problems (2008), and a book of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009). He has also had published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s
Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written, “The Martian Hop.”  With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He can be found at www.coreymesler.com.

 

Richard Milne, Ph.D.is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh who researches and teaches a broad range of topics related to plant evolution, and has a passion for science communication.  He loves creative writing but usually only gets the chance during holidays and periods of fieldwork.  Despite this, he has somehow managed to cobble together one and a half (as yet unpublished) novels over the past five years.

  

Tirumal Mundargilives in Bangalore and works here. His stories can be found  in Gowanus, Thieves Jargon, Pequin , Wigleaf, Elimae, Best of Boston Literary Magazine  Monkeybicycle and Grey Sparrow Journal.

 

Amy Sue Nathan'sessays and short stories have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times Online, the Washington Post Online, Chicago Parent, Scribblers on the Roof, Rose and Thorn Journal and in more than a dozen regional magazines and journals. Amy works as a freelance writer, reader and editor, an acquisitions editor for Aqueous Books and the social media liaison/editor for Backspace: The Writer’s Place. Her first novel is represented by Jason Yarn of The Paradigm Agency.  Amy has a BA in Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia. She lives near Chicago with her family. For more information visit www.amysuenathan.com.

 

Robert Bly wrote, "Thomas R. Smithis a high-spirited poetry horse, riding over the hills of emotion."  Smith was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and grew up in the paper mill town of Cornell on the Chippewa River.  A poet, essayist and editor, his work has appeared in hundreds of journals in the US, Canada, and the UK.  His poems have reached mass audiences on Garrison Keillor's public radio show Writer's Almanac and former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry.  He is author of four full-length collections of poetry, Keeping the Star (New Rivers Press, 1988), Horse of Earth (Holy Cow! Press, 1994), The Dark Indigo Current (Holy Cow! Press, 2000), and Waking Before Dawn (Red Dragonfly Press, 2007). A chapbook of nature poems, Kinnickinnic, appeared in 2008 from Parallel Press.  His selection of the Canadian poet, Alden Nowlan, What Happened When He Went to the Store for Bread (Nineties Press, 1993), introduced this important voice to a generation of readers in the US.  Red Dragonfly Press has also brought out a new book of Smith's poems [2010].  He has lectured on poetry at the Temenos Academy in London and the University of Minnesota.  He lives in River Falls, Wisconsin, and currently works as a Master Track instructor in poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  He has been active in peace and justice issues and a frequent participant in Minnesota Poets Against the War events.  He invites you to check out poems and essays on his web site at www.thomasrsmithpoet.com.


James S. Oppenheim was born in Washington, D.C., raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, schooled in Oxford, Ohio and resident in half a dozen Maryland towns (and, for a summer, Jacksonville, Florida).   Jim has published in Equus, The North American Review, The Washington Post and Firehouse Magazine, worked as managing editor of the University of Maryland graduate literary magazine, Ethos. He has also had a life in music, producing one album and playing venues from cabin porches in West Virginia to bars in Florida. James offered the lovely dove that graces the back of the book. Today finds him in Hagerstown, Maryland as a photographer, singer/songwriter, and the editor of a blog: Oppenheim Arts & Letters  devoted to the understanding of political conflicts and small wars, also art, culture, and language.

 

Vanina Orezzoli is an emerging writer.  Her short fiction has been shared at the Target Performance Hall and published in The Dos Passos Review. In 2009, she was a winner of The Loft Literary Center's Latino Inroads. Recognition of her other work includes an Emmy nomination, three Webby Awards and "Best Short Film" at The Midwest Indie. She lives in Minneapolis in a little house filled with the play of her husband, son and daughter. Hers is the good life of a first-generation American, and for that she dedicates this work to her parents. Please contact her at vaninaorezzoli.com

 

Joseph Michael Owens is a 29-year old MFA student at the University of Nebraska, currently living in Omaha with his wife and five dogs. His work will appear inThe Houston Literary Review, has appeared on The Rumpus, and in Grey Sparrow Journal, where he is, as of our winter issue, a regular contributor from The Campus and technical editor for iPad and Kindle conversion. Additionally, his short story "We Always Trust Each Other, Except for When We Don't" was nominated for Dzanc Books' Best of the Web 2011 anthology. He also manages the website, Category Thirteen, dedicated primarily to the process of writing.  He has a spring 2011 publication in Pank.

 

David Petranker, Australian photographer, shared Model Noir for this issue.

 

Cat Ennis Searsreceived her MFA in fiction from Emerson College in December 2010, where she taught freshman composition and was the fiction editor of Redivider. Her work has appeared in Bateau, the Chicago Quarterly Review, received honorable mention in a Glimmer Train short fiction contest, and been nominated for the 2011 AWP Intro Journal Awards. She is at work on a collection of linked short stories.

 

Marc J. Sheehan is the author of two books of poetry, Greatest Hits (New Issues Press, 1998) and Vengeful Hymns (Ashland Poetry Press, 2009).  He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for the Arts.  For several years he was an associate editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction.  He is communications officer at Ferris State University. 

 

N. A’Yara Stein holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is a grant recipient of the Michigan Art Council and the Arkansas Arts Council. The former editor of the arts quarterly Gypsy Blood Review, she’s recently published in Verse Wisconsin, The Birmingham Arts Journal, The Chaffey Review, The San Pedro Poetry Review , The Delinquent, UK, among others. She lives near Chicago with her sons, is looking for a book publisher, and is the featured poet in the next issuew of The James Dickey Review, and was nominated twice for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.

 

Caroline Swicegood grew up in rural Virginia and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she'll graduate from the NC State University MFA program in May 2011.  Her work has most recently appeared in Crate, the Ampersand Review, 3:AM Magazine, and blossombones.  She's currently putting the finishing touches on a collection of short stories.

 

Matthew Walz is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota and is currently residing in Minneapolis. His most recent publication, a selection of poems, has appeared in the Online Literary Journal Burning Word. His fiction is forthcoming in the Literary Magazines A Prairie Journal and Calliope.

 

Robert Wexelblatt is professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies.  He has published essays, stories, and poems in a wide variety of journals, two story collections, Life in the Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood, a book of essays, Professors at Play, and the novel Zublinka Among Women, winner of the First Prize for Fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2008.

 

Marie Sheppard Williams has lived in Minnesota all 78 years of her life, most of them in Minneapolis.  For twelve years she lived with her husband (ex-) and daughter as a caretaker in Flandrau State Park Group Camp on 847 acres of woods near New Ulm, Minnesota.  She worked for two years as the country correspondence editor at the New Ulm Daily Journal.

 

Other jobs over the course of her life have included social work positions at Kenny Rehabilitation Center, the VA Hospital in Minneapolis, and social work department manager at what used to be called The Minneapolis Society for the Blind. Her first collection of short stories centered around her experiences at the Society.

 

She has also worked as a clerk in a hardware store—(“my favorite job of all,” she says)—a floral designer, caregiver for people with Alzheimer’s, “feeder” in a nursing home, sign painter, telephone operator at the U. of M. and for Ma Bell, encyclopedia contributor, window-cleaner—you name it, she may have taken a shot at it.

 

Marie Sheppard Williams has been published in many literary magazines, including The Yale Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry East, Rosebud, The Sun and Tiferet.

 

One of her poems will appear in Ted Kooser’s newspaper column.  Her six collections of short stories/memoir include The Worldwide Church of the Handicapped (which was made into a play and mounted in two separate productions at Interact Theater in Minneapolis), The Weekend Girl, The Soap Game, The God Stories, Stories from the Child and, most recently, Us, which is an account of three generations of women on the distaff side of her family.  Any of her books can be obtained at Amazon.com; some are available at Common Good Books in St. Paul.

 

She is currently working on a new book with her daughter, Megan Williams, who has her own architectural firm in London, England—Marie is an immensely proud Mama. Drawings for the new book, called The Best Cat, were done by Megan on the living room floor at Brimnes, the Iceland home of the late Bill Holm.  Marie says, “The best thing that happened to me in my writing life was that Bill Holm loved my work.”

 

Marie Sheppard Williams has been nominated perhaps ten times for the Pushcart Prize, and has won it twice.  She has been a recipient of the Bush Grant, and won a fellowship from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.